Kotohira-gu Shrine

Kotohira-gu Shrine (金刀比羅宮), also known as Konpira-san, is one of Shikoku’s top shrines, and a worthwhile side trip from Marugame. There is a bit of mystery behind it’s exact founding date, but it is known to have been a focal point for centuries. It is the head shrine many in the region, and therefore could beContinue reading “Kotohira-gu Shrine”

Mount Mitake

Mt. Mitake (御岳山) is considered a sacred mountain by many Japanese, who frequently make a pilgrimage from Tokyo to the shrines up the mountain and on top. The 929 metre tall summit is easily, and cheaply, accessible from the big city and provides great views of Kanto. Alongside Mount Takao, the best mountain for hiking inContinue reading “Mount Mitake”

Kanda Myojin Shrine

Kanda Myojin Shrine (神田明神) is a major Shinto shrine near Akihabara and Ueno. Over 1000 years old, the buildings have been stunningly reserved and the garden even more so. People visit the shrine to pray for prosperity and wealth. Budget travel tips Walk from Akihabara. After geeking out, walk north up the main street (Chuo Dori) andContinue reading “Kanda Myojin Shrine”

Daikaku-ji Temple

Daikaku-ji (大覚寺) is a quiet temple in northern Kyoto. Not many people come here compared to others in Kyoto, and while it won’t blow you away it is a great contrast to others. Budget travel tips Just behind Daikaku-ji Temple is the free Gosha-myojin Shrine (五社明神), which is shown above. Take a right before the entrance, thenContinue reading “Daikaku-ji Temple”

Uji

Uji (宇治) is a popular tourist spot known for it’s many centuries old shrines and temples, 2 of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. While it is famous for these sites, Uji has also been blessed with amazing nature and is a good place to come for an easy walk or hike. BudgetContinue reading “Uji”

Dazaifu

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (太宰府天満宮) is a very famous shrine dedicated to the god of study. Buy some good luck charms and enjoy walking around this stunning Shinto complex. Budget travel tips Great as a day trip from Fukuoka if you need to experience a bit more culture and history. Consider the Fukuoka Tourist City Pass if coming from Fukuoka. EarlyContinue reading “Dazaifu”

Nezu Shrine

Nezu Shrine is a small shrine complex and garden, famous for it’s yearly Azalea Festival. It has around 3000 azaleas, while the shrine itself is a great example of Edo period architecture. Budget travel tips It’s quite a small shrine complex, so only come here during the Azalea Festival in early April to early May. How toContinue reading “Nezu Shrine”

Kichijoji

Kichijoji is a nice place to spend a cheap day, just walking around and doing an odd bit of shopping, eating or relaxing in the park.  It’s the most interesting suburban town outside central Tokyo, and has many things to keep all types of people occupied. Budget travel tips Make sure you have a printContinue reading “Kichijoji”

Takayama

Takayama is a beautiful town in the Japanese Alps.  It is famous for it’s festivals, markets and old-fashioned atmosphere.  It makes for a nice trip away from cities such as Kyoto or Nagoya. Budget travel tips Pick up a free map of the area at the Tourist Information Office (see map) opposite the station. CutContinue reading “Takayama”

Ise Shrines

The Ise shrines are often regarded to be in the top 3 shrine areas in Japan.  The simple, yet spectacular shrines really have to be seen with your own eyes to understand their beauty. Budget travel tips Try to be here outside the holidays, as Ise can get horribly busy. May be a good ideaContinue reading “Ise Shrines”

Miyajima

Miyajima is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site near Osaka and Hiroshima.  It’s often near the top of the list for most travelers, and offers and easy to access and peaceful rest from the big city. Budget travel tips Download the free tourist map here, or pick one up at the Tourist Information Center (see map). Everywhere is within walkingContinue reading “Miyajima”

Nara

Nara iorr a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of great shrines and temples, not far from Kyoto and Osaka.  A must-visit for most travelers coming to Japan, Nara has a large park where most of the action is, while there are a few more shrines and temples a short bicycle or bus ride away. Budget travel tips BeContinue reading “Nara”